NEWARK, N.J. -- Stanley Cup champion, Vezina Trophy winner, all-time wins leader, surefire Hall of Fame member. These are milestones Martin Brodeur has attained in his career with the New Jersey Devils.
But until this week, there was still one honor that had eluded him in his 20 seasons: video game cover model.
Brodeur finally earned that distinction Friday when it was announced, in a cover vote in which more than 22 million fans voted online and an additional million participated through Twitter, he was selected to be on the cover of EA's NHL 14 game.
"I think that's the beauty of this for me. Just the amount of fans that voted; over 22 million people voted for the cover. When you finish on top, it feels pretty good," Brodeur told NHL.com. "I think it's exciting. I never really realized I wasn't on the cover. There's only one game a year. It's pretty exciting for the fans to be involved and to decide who is going to be on the cover."
EA announced this week that, out of a field that started with 60 NHL players, Brodeur beat out goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the final round of voting. For Brodeur, it was a proud moment to be named the face of the game, which hasn't featured a goaltender on its cover since John Vanbiesbrouck of the Florida Panthers in 1997.
"I didn't realize there was no goalie on there since 1997, when Vanbiesbrouck was there," Brodeur said. "The last few years, the fans really pushed [for a goalie]. Pekka Rinne [of the Nashville Predators] lost in the finals last year (to Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux), and this year it was Bobrovsky and me in the finals. I think the fans wanted a goalie in there."
By his own admission, it's been more than a decade since Brodeur last played video games. He did enjoy the first golden age of video games, playing the popular Intellivision system in the 1980s. And though he hasn't played games in some time, he remains a popular figure in sports gaming lore. As one of the last active NHL players to have been featured in the legendary NHL 94 iteration of EA's popular series, to this day he is lauded for his avatar's abilities in the virtual hockey arena.
"It's amazing when you go through my whole career, how many people talk to me about video games. How comfortable they are to play with you in NHL 94. It's pretty cool," Brodeur said. "My kids play a lot. The last 10 years, I haven't played many video games at all. When I was younger, like any teenager, I played a lot of video games. For us, it was a little different technology than it is now. That's for sure."
Entering his 21st season with the Devils, Brodeur might not find the time to play as himself in NHL 14. But he's sure that being featured on the game's cover will win him some major points with his kids.
"It should, a lot," Brodeur said before laughing. "There'll be some free games in there, that's for sure."